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'Acute funding crisis': 13 MPs put names to letter backing community pharmacy

Politicians are calling on Victoria Atkins to provide community pharmacy with an “economically viable” funding model.

Some 13 MPs from across the political spectrum have signed a letter to health secretary Victoria Atkins calling for more support for community pharmacy, Community Pharmacy England (CPE)  announced today (April 8).

Read more: CPE confirms no change to fees amid 2024/25 contract delays

The letter, “co-ordinated” by CPE, says that the sector’s funding crisis “compounds” the pressures community pharmacies are facing, which ultimately affects the care received by patients.

The letter calls on Atkins to:

  • Commit to creating an “economically viable” core funding model
  • Further develop Pharmacy First to cover “more common conditions”, and
  • Allow pharmacies to provide more clinical services, such as vaccinations and long-term condition management

The MPs who signed the letter were: Peter Aldous; Neil Coyle; Steve Double; Peter Dowd; Sarah Dyke; Kevin Foster; Marco Longhi; Rachael Maskell; Greg Smith; Derek Thomas; Edward Timpson; Martin Vickers; and Theresa Villiers.

Read more: ‘Thriving market’: Minister upbeat about community pharmacy despite closures

The letter says that Pharmacy First cannot succeed or expand unless the sector’s “current, acute funding crisis” is fixed. 

In March, Paydens Pharmacy managing director Alexander Pay told C+D that Pharmacy First, while welcome, did not address the “chronic underfunding of the core services”.

 

“No sign of improving”

 

CPE chief executive Janet Morrison said that the negotiator was “extremely grateful” for MPs who showed their “ongoing and lasting support for community pharmacies”.

Morrison said that pharmacies are faced with “extreme” financial pressures that “show no sign of improving”.

Read more: CPE 'very concerned' over Leadsom 'thriving’ pharmacy market comments

She added that CPE would continue to tell ministers and the government that the sector is “far from thriving” and is instead “close to damage and change beyond all recognition”.

It comes after pharmacy minister Andrea Leadsom attracted criticism last month for suggesting the community pharmacy sector "continues to be a thriving market".

Read more: Cuts, overdrafts and closures: Business becoming ‘impossible’ for contractors

In March, CPE held a “showcase event” for Pharmacy First for 25 MPs, many but not all of whom put their names to the letter to the health secretary.

MPs were briefed on the “critical financial and operational pressures” faced by the sector at the showcase event.

C+D did not receive a response from the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) by the time of publication.

Read the letter in full here.

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